J&K HC | In the current times of Covid-19 crisis, e- connectivity to the courts ensure that the citizens are not deprived of their right to seek judicial remedies   

Jammu and Kashmir High Court: Taking stock of how the various departments in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir have responded to the situations arising due to the lockdown that has been imposed to tackle the spread of Covid-19, the Division Bench of Gita Mittal, C.J., and Rajnesh Oswal, J., specifically pointed out the damage caused to some of the internet routers installed by the BSNL in Court of Munsiff, JMIC Chenani, Udhampur, and observed that in the present times, e-connectivity to the courts is all the more important because it is an issue of ensuring access to justice to the citizens, which is a fundamental right and cannot be obstructed in any manner. The Bench also pointed out that, “In the current times of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resultant restrictions, no court can discharge essential judicial functions if there is non-availability of e-connectivity”. The Bench directed the BSNL officials to look into the issue and resolve it with utmost urgency.

Along with the aforementioned directive to the BSNL, The Court also reviewed several status reports filed by various departments like the Social Welfare Department, the Jammu and Srinagar Municipal Corporation etc. The Court was pleased to observe that the said aforementioned departments have taken adequate care to provide proper healthcare and PPE kits to frontline ‘corona warriors’ such as the doctors; and ensuring that stray animals are taken care of, respectively. The Court also noted the deterioration of 63.10 qtls of stock Atta-OMSS food grains, and directed the Food Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Department officials to remit the recovery amount into the Government Treasury within two days as per Food Manual of 2016. [ Azra Ismail v. Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, WP (C) PIL No. 4 of 2020, decided on 03-06-2020]

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